L.A. Warning Airbnb Hosts About Their Tax-Collecting Obligations

(Chris Goldberg)

Subletting one’s home or renting out space on your own property has long been a way for some Los Angeles residents to earn some extra income without telling the taxman. And the rise of home-sharing services like Airbnb and VRBO has only encouraged more people to make money off their unused rooms. But the city of Los Angeles is now sending stern reminders to people who list properties on these sites that they have to pay taxes similar to those paid by hotel operators. [More]

New Jersey Mistakenly Tells 2,000 People They Underpaid On Taxes, Doesn’t Tell Them About Error

New Jersey Mistakenly Tells 2,000 People They Underpaid On Taxes, Doesn’t Tell Them About Error

It’s one thing for a state with nearly 4 million people filing tax returns to screw up on a couple of thousand of those filings. It’s another when the state realizes it screwed up but doesn’t make any effort to let people know of the error. [More]

Take-And-Bake Pizza Sales Tax Quandary Shows How Confusing Tax Codes Can Be

Take-And-Bake Pizza Sales Tax Quandary Shows How Confusing Tax Codes Can Be

Did you know that in some states, 24 to be exact, a Hershey bar is candy but a Twix bar is not, when it comes to taxes? I didn’t either, and it’s just that kind of baffling distinction — the Twix contains flour, and candy is classified as flourless — that’s making it hard for states to decide which foods are taxable under the sales tax code and which aren’t. [More]

Advocates: Bill Requiring IRS To Use Private Debt Collectors Would Harm Consumers

Advocates: Bill Requiring IRS To Use Private Debt Collectors Would Harm Consumers

It makes sense that the federal government would want to collect owed taxes and a proposed law would require the IRS to push that duty off to private debt collectors. However, a history of abusive practices by debt collectors and the failure of similar programs in the past has consumer advocates warning that the provision will only hurt consumers and the government in the long run. [More]

(Truthout.org)

Hackers Stole Doctors’ Tax Refunds By Breaking In To Payroll Software

Last week, we shared the scary news that a ring of tax refund fraudsters appeared to have filed tax returns on behalf of hundreds of doctors and other health care professionals, harvesting their refunds. Early theories were that hackers had used the recent release of federal data about Medicare providers, or obtained a list of doctors. The truth was even scarier. [More]

10 Ways To Not Suck At Spending Your Tax Refund

10 Ways To Not Suck At Spending Your Tax Refund

Tax season is finally over, and hopefully you’re one of the lucky ones who is expecting a tax refund rather than one of those who has to send even more money to the IRS. But before you spend that money on a third 72″ LED for your yacht, there are several more sensible ways to use your refund. [More]

(Pete)

My Taxes Are Done. What Can I Throw Out Now?

Unless you filed for an extension, your tax return is now done and posted through the mail or beamed through the Interweb to the IRS and your state government, if required. That’s a relief. Now, what items in your files should you keep, and which can you throw out? [More]

(Alberto Cueto)

Tax Fraudsters Stealing Companies’ Databases of W-2s To File Your Taxes Before You Do

You’re great at security: you manage your long, secure passwords effectively, you shred all of your sensitive documents thoroughly, and you check your credit report and your online statements frequently. Good job! But all the micromanaging in the world can’t prevent you from being a victim of tax fraud if a hacker intercepts your W-2 and all of the information in it before it ever even gets to you. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Doula Deductions, Pension Distributions, And The Sandwich Generation

Ask Tax Dad: Doula Deductions, Pension Distributions, And The Sandwich Generation

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Fewer IRS Agents Mean Less Chance You’ll Get Audited This Year

Fewer IRS Agents Mean Less Chance You’ll Get Audited This Year

Consumers with a perpetual worry of being audited each year can breathe a sigh of relief. Okay, maybe not totally, some people are still going to be audited after tomorrow’s tax deadline comes and goes, but the chances of such an audit are unusually slim this year. [More]

Intuit/TurboTax Using Non-Profits, Religious Leaders In Push Against Pre-Filled Tax Forms

Intuit/TurboTax Using Non-Profits, Religious Leaders In Push Against Pre-Filled Tax Forms

We can understand why some people might have concerns about receiving tax forms that are already filled in by the IRS. We could understand why some would voice those concerns in a public forum. But is a line crossed when the people telling you to voice your concerns are the very ones who stand to benefit financially from your opposition? [More]

Ask Tax Dad: I Just Can’t Quit Itemizing My Deductions

Ask Tax Dad: I Just Can’t Quit Itemizing My Deductions

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

From Curly Fries To Document-Shredding: 4 Tax Day Freebies

From Curly Fries To Document-Shredding: 4 Tax Day Freebies

Like a slowly approaching T-rex, whose every thunderous step sends ripples through your glass of water, the April 15 deadline for filing your income tax returns is drawing nigh. While it’s a gloom-and-doom occasion for some, it’s also a chance to score some free stuff. [More]

What Documents To Keep And Which To Pitch After Tax Season

What Documents To Keep And Which To Pitch After Tax Season

Tax season is upon us. Okay, it’s been here for several months, but now that it’s winding down you might be thinking about clearing all that clutter from your home office (or in our case a little corner in our apartment). But before you commence the Tax Document Purge of 2014 there are some records you need to keep around. [More]

IRS Decision To Tax Bitcoin As Property May Slow Efforts To Widen Its Use In Retail

IRS Decision To Tax Bitcoin As Property May Slow Efforts To Widen Its Use In Retail

It’s a good-news/bad-news day for folks who have heavily invested in the Bitcoin virtual currency, after the IRS declared that will tax Bitcoins as property. On the one hand, that means that people who are profiting from their investment in Bitcoin will pay the lower taxes associated with capital gains, rather than the much higher taxes levied on foreign currency gains. On the other hand, it could mean an awful lot of record-keeping that may make it a hassle to use Bitcoins for everyday transactions like one would use a debit card. [More]

IRS Warns Of “Largest Ever” Phony Phone Call Scam

IRS Warns Of “Largest Ever” Phony Phone Call Scam

After receiving more than 20,000 reports of victims being taken in by a phone scam in which the callers pretend to be IRS officials, the tax agency’s internal watchdog has issued a public warning for consumers to be mindful of unsolicited calls claiming to be from the IRS. [More]

Ask Tax Dad: Mobile Home Sale, Sisterly Support, And Son Leaves The Nest

Ask Tax Dad: Mobile Home Sale, Sisterly Support, And Son Leaves The Nest

Historically, our staff Certified Tax Cat has handled readers’ questions about taxes, but he took feline early retirement and hung up his oversized eyeglasses. Filling in for him is Laura’s dad, a retired accountant and real live independent tax preparer. Exclusively on Consumerist, Tax Dad answers your questions. [More]

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax  Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

It’s that time of year again: tax time. While almost everyone is excited for their well-earned tax return to arrive, there’s a group of people ready to take that money away from you. Thankfully, the National Consumers League wants to make sure consumers don’t fall victim to tax ID thieves. [More]